Jun 272014

We are coming up to the end of the month here on the rock and for the most part, June appears to be a rather slow time for most businesses.  Vacation season has not kicked into full gear yet, there are not a whole lot of major events other than some swim arounds that have to do with the water, and of course, the stormy season is kicking in.  But, there are other things happening around here.  Take grass for example.

No, I’m not talking about that stuff you mainlanders insist on planting in your yards just so it can suck up all the water and give you something to do on the weekends with one of those lawn mower thingies.  And no, I ain’t talking about the smoking kind.  Nope, in June we have sea grass, or Sargasso grass, and this year, it’s thicker than normal.

IMG_1458Sargasso grass comes from the Sargasso Sea, a section of ocean in the Atlantic to the east of the U.S.  The grass is a thick, sticky, and smelly concoction that floats on the surface and goes where the currents go.  In the early summer months, much of this stuff makes it’s way into the Keys and to the Gulf of Mexico.  Right now it’s all over the place and wreaking havoc with boaters, swimmers, and the beaches.

The grass comes in with the tide and forms a long, stinky barrier on the beaches on the south side of Key West.  It’s particularly thick along Smathers Beach and the smell is quite pungent.  The city has front end loaders making daily runs up and down the beach scooping the goop up, but it is a losing battle.  At any time right now you have to wade through about 20 feet or more of this stuff to get to clear water.  Not a lot of fun if you are planning a fun day at the beach.  We had a recent swim around the island and another coming this Saturday so the swimmers will have to put up with getting that stuff all over them, and sometimes inside.

The grass is really playing hell with boat motors.  Most boat motors rely on sea water for cooling.  As the motor runs, it sucks up sea water through vents, circulates the water throughout the engine, and then spits it back out.  It works ok until you suck in a big wad of grass, and then your engine shuts down.  The towing services have been extra busy lately because of it.

While the grass is not helping the humans, it does help the local sea life.  The grass provides cover for many fish and the nutrients feed a lot of species.  But for some reason this year it is thicker than normal and nobody seems to know why.  There was a rumor that the oil from the BP oil spill was causing the grass to proliferate, because of the alleged nutrients in the oil, but that has been disproven…at least that is what they want us to believe.  Hmmmm.  Whatever the reason, the grass is thick and a pain in the ass for anyone who wants to be out on the water.  Be careful if you are swimming, diving, paddling, boating, jet skiing….look, don’t go near it.  Don’t even look at it.  Avert your gaze, stay on land, and go drink in a bar until it passes, OK?

Elsewhere, I found out an interesting item.  A neighbor has been waiting to put her boat in the yard for a much needed bottom job and some other repairs.  Now it seems she will be waiting until August.  I never thought about this before but it makes sense.  From late March until late July, lobster season is closed.  Stone crab season is also closed from late May ’til October.  So all those lobster and crab boats are using the off season to get their boats fixed up.  As a result, there is not a spot to be had on most any boat yard, probably up and down the Keys right now as all the commercial boats have them tied up.  So if you are planning at anytime to get your vessel on the hard for some work, wait until the fall when lobster and stone crab seasons kick back in.  You’ll be able to more easily find a spot to get said work done.

A quick little update from the marina of lost hope.  At the end of one of the docks, a large section has rotted away and fallen into the ocean, taking some dock boxes and other items with it.  It’s going to be ugly over there, even more than before.

As for my situation, all is well here.  I’ve been enjoying the marina and boat living has become palatable again.  At a recent dock party I happened to talk to one of the dock owners who gave me some interesting low down on things around here.

Seems there are two HOA’s on the property, one for the condo’s, and one for the dock owners.  So the dock owners have control over their own fate.  The marina itself is owned by a separate corporation.  So from a political standpoint, things would appear to be secure.

The other rumor is the marina will be moving the laundry and restroom/showers downstairs to more better location sometime in the near future.  That will be nice if that happens, as long as we don’t get into the card/$125 a month user fees.

There has been one minor bad thing going on lately.  A small rash of thefts has been occurring.  One neighbor lost a VHF radio out of his truck.  What is disturbing is it was hidden behind a seat so somebody had to look for it or knew where it was.  A bicycle and a wheel off another have turned up missing also.  The urban outdoorsmen from the shelter next door tend to make a few appearances on the property and at night, there is currently no security.  I don’t think any of them dare to come out on the docks.  Boarding a boat in the middle of the night, unannounced and without the captain’s permission is asking for a bullet in the head.  But they are probably roaming the parking lot and around the bike racks.

I’m rather surprised that there is not a fence up between the road and the marina but somebody said a fence would look ugly.  Well, all you are blocking is a view of the jail and the homeless shelter.  No matter, it does bear watching.

I don’t have much on the Spirit other than the computer.  But a new lock is on the list and I’ll have to be a bit more careful.

I haven’t done anything else to the Spirit in terms of fixing/repairing/upgrading.  Money as usual has been too tight.  I still have the engine and have not tried to sell it yet, but that may occur soon.  Right now, I’m busy with the kayaking gig and working on a couple of new sure-to-make-me-wealthy-beyond-my-dreams app projects.  Then I will need to go back to class and start learning Apple’s new coding language, Swift.  If you are thinking of getting into the high paced and exciting field of app development, you will need to know Swift.  It will be the future of apps.  Hope I am up to the challenge.

July is right around the corner with lots of stuff happening.  The island could use a kick in the ass economically right now.  And it would be nice if the damn grass would go back out to sea.  But still, beats having to mow it.

Capt. Fritter



  One Response to “Living Aboard: June On The Water…”

  1. I’ve been to Fl Keys once or twice a year for the past 8-9 years. I think there was once where that grass wasn’t piled high on the south side & making everything smell funky. I remember one trip (I think January 2010) where it was piled up at Bahia Honda, and it was full of little blue Man-o-Wars that had apparently been killed/stunned by that cold snap. Just when you thought nothing could be worse than ugly & stinking, they add some weaponry to it…